One thing I like about New Jersey is how easy it is to get to great cultural events. . This week, I went with a friend to the Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University to see a five decade retrospective of Melvin Edwards' work. As a new welder, initially I was most interested in the material he used and how he put his pieces together but quickly realized the political, racial and cultural themes running through his work were far more significant. It was really interesting to see and talk about it with my friend and fellow sculptor as we walked through the exhibit. Last night, I went to Grounds for Sculpture to hear Joyce Carol Oates, speak about her latest book, a memoir about growing up in Western NY. She is a prolific writer who, like Edwards, often has political and racial themes running through her work but when she spoke, I was struck by how funny she was. Both Edwards and Oates are in their late 70's and have been creating since the 1960's. It was truly inspiring to she how much they have done with their lives and are still continuing to do. And on that note, I need to get to work!